Name Neurosis

Kathryn Crawford Saxer Self Care

I never remember names. I can know people for years and not have a clue what their name is. This has developed into a pretty rich neurosis, where I won’t say someone’s name even if I’m sure what it is, because what if it’s wrong?
This is ridiculous. It inhibits my ability to connect with people. I’m distracted by an internal dialogue worrying about their name.
So I decided to do something about it. A little Internet research says you just use a mnemonic device.
Easy. I can do that. “Scott is Hot.” “Josh jokes around a lot.” “Mary is Married.”
I recently met someone: Kristin. Because she’s a runner, she reminds me of a gorgeous Kristin I used to run with in high school. Easy.
The next time I saw her, I said, “Hi Kristine!” I “Kristine-d” this and “Kristine-d” that. This is easy, I thought to myself. Look at me, fearlessly using her name.
It wasn’t until later that I realized, to my horror, that I’d screwed up the mnemonic device. I’m almost positive her name is “Kristin,” not “Kristine.”
How mortifying. She’s probably blogging right now about the crazy woman who followed her around calling her the wrong name.
Since that slight setback, I’ve kept at it.
“Hi Rachel (who Rocks)!” “Hi Darius (is Daring)!” “Hi Hannah (like Darryl Hannah)!” And, wow, I get a surge of self confidence from this. I know their names! I’m confident of their names! There’s no internal dialogue questioning whether I’m screwing it up.
Time for a new neurosis.